"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
No man should try to be an island. That is well said for someone who does not have a few nuances in his life that are often pointed out by close friends and family that amount to mere personal speculation with no experience.
Connie has a boy on the higher end of the autism spectrum. He is intermittently viewed in fits of frustration and overwhelming anxiety when new situations arise or present circumstances are unable to be controlled. For the most part he's a good kid. He has a tremendous sentimental heart that is loyal when anyone needs him. His emotions are usually childlike as he encounters playful tasks that can often be viewed as refreshing. Most importantly, he has a zest for life and often draws others in his contentment when they are depressed are confused.
But there are those dark days of frustration and anxiety. It has inhibited her son developmentally from attaining the usual milestones in life. In fact, he is a bit behind as he meanders up life's path. It is during these times she can be inundated with so much unwanted advice. Friends, or who Connie dubs as friends, are quick to point out the common mistakes she's made. Of course these comrades are speaking from a lone voice of raising a normal child. Not one, of course, has a child diagnosed as such. So, these fleeting comments over the years have been brushed under the rug as Connie struggles to meet parental exceptions. In turn, she spends less time with family and friends in hopes of saving what little self worth she and her son has.
In Acts we're told that the believers "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer" (2:42). They studied the Bible together, worshiped together, and prayed together. Doing all this together would have allowed union and time for teaching, questioning, correcting, and encouraging.
In fact Hebrews said, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but lest us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25) If those early Christians needed each other's teaching and encouragement, surely we must as well. When we're alone we are easier prey for Satan's darts that include: discouragement, doubt, despair, or deception.
So Connie prayed. She knew the Bible promised encouragement with an entourage that was hand picked for her. Shortly thereafter she found a new job opening in a facility that worked closely with higher functioning autistic children. One day, when she was at rock bottom, she began complaining to a fellow employee about her son. She quickly pulled up her guard expecting the usual rebuttle. Instead, she found a circuit of love, support, and understanding. This was completely unexpected yet welcomed. Connie began gaining new insight from her new coworkers that helped support her child's needs. Hence, she needed less support from her family and friends in this area concentrated more on the fun side of life when they were around.
I pray that you surround me with friends and family
who can encourage me, support me, and nurture me
with _____________________________. I know
that you will forge a new path and support me in my